Mri&al of Christian frcljtttcture.
CJje &ebttoal of Christian architecture
A. WELBY PUGIN,
LATE PROFESSOR OF ECCLESIASTICAL ANTIQUITIES AT ST. MARIE'S COLLEGE, OSCOTT.
31 GEORGE IV. BRIDGE
Co tbc Jiigbt J^onouratile
@arl of Sintfosfotrs, TOatetfortr, an*
tier? gooD lorD,
Jt tooulD 6e most unnatural
anD ungrateful in me, toben
putting fortb a Creatise relat*
ing to tbe IRetiitial of Christian
architecture in <ZBnglanti,tDere 3T
not to oeDicate tfje same in an
especial manner to pour lorfc
sfrip, tufjo I)a0 oeen t&e main
support in tfje furtherance of
tfjat gooD toorfe, anD to to&om
31 am so greatlp oounoen.
<OD in bis mercp grant, tfmt as pour lorDs&ip's noble
ancestor, tfje Calbot of famous memorp, ertenoeD fte temporal glorp of
OEnglanD 6p oeeDs of arms, so map pour lorDstrip continue to increase
tfje spiritual toelfare of tfjese realms tip retiring tbe ancient glories of
tbe <nglisb Cburcb, of tobose faitb pour noble bouse bas furnisben so
Cbat pour Lorosbip map long oe blesseD toitft bealtb anD
strengtb to carrp out to a bappp conclusion tbe manp gooD Designs
pou batie in banD, is tbe constant praper of
iLorDsbip's DetioteD anD faitbful TBeDesman,
LIST OF PLATES.
PLATE I. FRONTISPIECE.
II. Buildings of the time of Francis I. . . . to face p. 8
III. Railways 10
IV. Cemetery Company's Entrance . . . . . . 12
V. Revived Sepulchral Brasses 34
VI. Do 36
VII. Domestic Buildings 39
VIII. Examples of Christian Sculpture 43
IX. Paintings of the Christian and revived Pagan artists compared 44
X. Church Furniture revived at Birmingham . . . . 51
REFERENCES TO THE FRONTISPIECE.
1. St. George's, London.
2. St. Peter's, Woolwich.
3. St. Marie's, Stockton.
4. St. Giles's, Cheadle.
5. St. Marie's, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
6. North Gate, St. Marie's, Oscott.
7. St. Austin's, Ker.ilworth.
8. Jesus Chapel, Pomfret.
9. Cathedral, Killarney.
10. St. Chad's, Birmingham.
11. St. Oswald's, Liverpool.
12. Holy Cross, Kirkham.
13. St. Barnabas, Nottingham.
14. Gorey, Ireland.
15. St. Marie's, Derby.
16. St. Alban's, Macclesfield.
17. St. Marie's, Brewood.
18. St. Winif ride's, Shepshead.
19. St. Andrew's, Cambridge.
20. St. Bernard's Priory, Leicestershire.
21. St. Marie's, Keighley.
22. St. Marie's, Warwick Bridge.
23. St. Wilfrid's, Manchester.
24. St. Marie's, Soxithport.
25. St. John's Hospital, Alton.
THE REVIVAL OF CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE
age in which we live is a most eventful period
for English art. We are just emerging from a
state which may be termed the dark ages of archi-
tecture. After a gradual decay of four centuries, the
style, for style there was, became so execrably
bad, that the cup of degradation was filled to the
brim ; and as taste had fallen to its lowest depth,
a favourable re-action commenced.
The breaking up of this wretched state of things has naturally pro-
duced a complete convulsion in the whole system of arts, and a Babel of
confusion has succeeded to the one bad idea that generally prevailed.
Private judgment runs riot; every architect has a theory of his own,
a beau ideal he has himself created ; a disguise with which to invest
the building he erects. This is generally the result of his latest travels.
One breathes nothing but the Alhambra, another the Parthenon,
a third is full of lotus cups and pyramids from the banks of the Nile, a
fourth, from Rome, is all dome and basilica ; whilst another works Stuart
and Revett on a modified plan, and builds lodges, centenary chapels,
reading-rooms, and fish markets, with small Doric work and white brick
ON THE KEVIVAL OF
faciDgs. Styles are now adopted instead of generated, and ornament
and design adapted to, instead of originated by, the edifices them-
This may, indeed, be appropriately termed the carnival of archi-
tecture : its professors appear tricked out in the guises of all centuries
and all nations ; the Turk and the Christian, the Egyptian and the
Greek, the Swiss and the Hindoo, march side by side, and mingle
together ; and some of these gentlemen, not satisfied with perpetrating
one character, appear in two or three costumes in the same evening. 1
Amid this motley group (oh ! miserable degradation !) the venerable
form and sacred detail of our national and Catholic architecture may
be discerned ; but how adopted ? Not on consistent principle, not on
authority, not as the expression of our faith, our government, or country,
but as one of the disguises of the day, to be put on and off at
pleasure, and used occasionally as circumstances or private caprice may
It is considered suitable for some purposes, MELANCHOLY, and there-
fore Jit for religious buildings ! ! ! a style that an architect of the day
should be acquainted with, in order to please those who admire old
things, 2 a style in which there are many beauties : such is the heart-
less advocacy which our national architecture frequently receives from
its professed admirers ; while others are not wanting, even in the most
influential positions, who venture to sneer at and insult its principles,
either because they are far beyond their comprehension, or that they
1 It is not unusual for architects to send two designs for the same building, of utterly
opposed character and style, for the selection of the committee ; as if it were possible for
more than one principle to be a correct expression of the intended building.
2 If a pointed design is sent, it is generally in accordance with the whim of the archi-
tect's employer ; and then a symmetrical front regular, to the utter inconvenience of the
internal arrangements, is dressed up with tracery, battlements, and pinnacles ; and these
sit as uneasy on the modern block, as the chimney stacks and attics on an Albert Terrace
are so besotted in their mongrel compositions, that they tremble at the
ascendancy of truth. 3
The object of this tract is, therefore, to place Christian architecture
3 It is a perfect disgrace to the Koyal Academy, that its Professor of Architecture should
be permitted to poison the minds of the students of that establishment by propagating his
erroneous opinions of Christian architecture. The influence which his position naturally
gives him over their minds is doubtless considerable, and the effect of his instructions pro-
portionably pernicious. Not content, however, with the disparagement of ancient excellence,
which he introduces in his official lectures, he is practically carrying out his contempt of
pointed design in both Universities, and in a manner that must cause anguish of soul to
any man of Catholic mind and feeling.
The ancient buildings of King's College, models of perfection in their way, are actually
being demolished, to make room for a monstrous erection of mongrel Italian, a heavy,
vulgar, unsightly mass, which already obscures from some points the lateral elevation of
King's Chapel, and which it is impossible to pass without a depression of spirits and
feelings of disgust. A man who paganizes in the Universities deserves no quarter ; and it
becomes a question whether the greater share of blame attaching to such transactions is due
to the architect who could so wed himself to the bastard compositions generated in his
studio, as to intrude his huge deformity not only in the vicinity but on the site of ancient
excellence ; or to the authorities of the University, who, in the very teeth of the present
revival, have sanctioned so gross a violation of propriety. But their madness is paralleled
at Oxford, where the same architect is erecting another unsightly pile of pagan details,
stuck together to make up a show, for the university galleries immediately facing the
venerable front of St. John's, and utterly destroying this beautiful entrance to the most
Catholic-looking city in England. The pagan character of this edifice has, however,
awakened the disgust of some of the most learned members of the University ; and if it
pleases the admirers of gin-palace design, it will draw down the indignation of every true
disciple of Catholic and consistent architecture.
But, although some men, by dint of name, fortune, and station, may rule for a brief space,
and mock that excellence to which they can never attain, yet their day is fast drawing to
a close ; several of the junta who have disfigured the face of the country are already
gone ; and, like Bunyan's giants in the Pilgrim's Progress, the others are so enfeebled that
they can only snarl at the revival of excellence. Their works will hardly be endured for
the time they have to run, and the remembrance of them will be the laughing-stock of
posterity ; and when the ancient glories of our native land are restored, and this generation
of pretenders have passed away, men will be amazed that a period could have existed
when they were permitted to disfigure and destroy, unchecked and unreproved.
4 ON THE REVIVAL OF
in its true position, to exhibit the claims it possesses on our veneration
and obedience, as the only correct expression of the faith, wants, and
climate of our country ; and if it fails in doing this, it will be rather
owing to the incapacity of the author in doing justice to this most
important subject, than to any want of truth in the proposition itself.
The arguments used, both by the advocates and opponents of pointed
architecture, have been most fallacious. They have consisted, for the
most part, in mere private views and opinions relative to comparative
abstract beauty in the different styles ; and these, as might be expected,
have proved most inconclusive.
To advocate Christian architecture merely on the score of its beauty,
can never prevail with those, who profess to think that all art and
majesty is concentrated in a Grecian temple. We must turn to the
principles from which all styles have originated. The history of archi-
tecture is the history of the world : as we inspect the edifices of an-
tiquity, its nations, its dynasties, its religions, are all brought before
us. The belief and manners of all people are embodied in the edifices
they raised ; it was impossible for any of them to have built consistently
otherwise than they did : each was the inventor and perfector of their
peculiar style ; each style was the type of their Eeligion, customs, and
climate. The abstract beauty of these various styles, when viewed with
reference to the purposes for which they were raised, is great indeed ;
they are the perfection of what was intended : a follower of Bramah
or Isis, a fire-worshipper of Persia, could not have produced any thing
different from what they have done; and so truly did these edifices
embody the principles and worship of their builders, that the discovery
of a certain form of temple or peculiar symbols is at once admitted as
evidence, of the existence of a certain people and religion in that place.
Nay, more, by architecture and ornament alone, learned men of the
present time are" enabled to make the most important discoveries, relative
to the history of nations, whose very existence is anterior by many
centuries to the Christian era.
Will the architecture of our times, even supposing it solid enough to
last, hand down to posterity any certain clue or guide to the system
under which it was erected ? Surely not ; it is not the expression of
existing opinions and circumstances, but a confused jumble of styles
and symbols borrowed from all nations and periods.
Are not the adapters of pagan architecture violating every principle,
that regulated the men whose works they profess to imitate ? JThese
uncompromising advocates of classic styles would be utterly repudiated
by the humblest architect of pagan antiquity, were he now to return
to earth. Vitruvius would spew if he beheld the works of those who
glory in calling him master.
The restorers of Christian architecture are more consistent followers
of classic principles than all these boasted Greeks ; they understand
antiquity, and apply the ancient consistent rules to the new dispensa-
tion. The moderns, in their pretended imitation of the classic system,
are constantly producing the greatest anomalies ; and we are called
upon to admire their thrice-cooked hashes of pagan fragments (in which
the ingredients are amalgamated in utter confusion) as fine national
monuments of the present age.
I have not unfrequently been denominated by the perpetrators of
these absurdities as a fanatic for pointed design, a blind bigot in-
sensible to, and ignorant of, any beauty but that of the middle ages.
So far from this, I much question, if I am not better acquainted with
the principles on which the various styles of pagan antiquity were
founded, than many of their warmest advocates. I believe them to be
the perfect expressions of imperfect systems ; the summit of human skill,
expended on human inventions : but I claim for Christian art a merit
and perfection, which it was impossible to attain even in the Mosaic
dispensation, much less in the errors of polytheism. The former was
but a type of the great blessings we enjoy, the latter, the very an-
tipodes to truth, and the worship of demons.
I can readily understand how the pyramid, the obelisk, the temple,
ON THE REVIVAL OF
and pagoda have arisen ; whence the arrangement of their plan, and
the symbols which decorate them have been generated. I am prepared
to join in admiration at the skill which piled such gigantic masses on
each other, which fashioned so exquisitely each limb and countenance ;
but I cannot acknowledge them to be appropriate types for the archi-
tecture of a Christian country.
If we worshipped Jupiter, or were votaries of Juggernaut, we should
raise a temple, or erect a pagoda. If we believed in Mahomet, we should
mount the crescent, and raise a mosque. If we burnt our dead, and
offered animals to gods, we should use cinerary urns, and carve sacrificial
friezes of bulls and goats. If we denied Christ, we should reject his
Cross. For all these would be natural consequences : but, in the name
of common sense, whilst we profess the creed of Christians, whilst we
glory in being Englishmen, let us have an architecture, the arrangement
and details of which will alike remind .us of our faith and our country,
an architecture whose beauties we may claim as our own, whose
symbols have originated in our religion and our customs. Such an
architecture is to be found in the works of our great ancestors, whose
noble conceptions and mighty works were originated and perfected
under a faith and system, for the most part common with our own ;
for, strange as it may appear, the difference between us and our English
forefathers, on examination, will prove slight indeed, compared with
those nations, from whom we have been accustomed for the last century
to borrow our types, as being the best suited to our present habits.
Before entering into the necessary details in support of this position,
it may not be amiss to say a few words on the subject of Christian
architecture. It has been frequently objected by the advocates of
paganism, that the pointed style, especially Christian, was not developed
till several centuries after the crucifixion of our Lord ; but this is mea-
suring the ways of God by mere human capacity. How long were the
chosen people of God allowed to exist before the erection of the great
temple of Jerusalem was permitted ? Did not the skins of the desert
typify the polished stones of that wondrous structure ? And may we
not say that the foundations of Cologne were commenced in the cata-
combs of the eternal city ? Like protestants who rail at ecclesiastical
solemnity, because it is not to be found in the persecuted church
of the apostles, they urge the non-existence of spires under Roman
emperors as a proof, that they were not generated by the Christian
principle. But modern men are constantly referring to the church in
her suffering state, described by our Lord under the similitude of a grain
of mustard-seed, while they refuse to recognise her, when, as the greatest
of all trees, she extended triumphant in beauty and luxuriant foliage over
How could the divine character of Christ's church have been made
manifest to future generations, except by passing through an ordeal
of poverty and bitter persecution of more than three centuries, and
triumphing over the powers of the world and darkness, without human
aid ! Those were not, indeed, times for the cultivation of material arts ;
but the foundations of every Christian temple, spire, and pinnacle, were
then laid so firmly, that we may build on them till doomsday without
fear of sinking or decay. Byzantine, Lombard, Saxon, and Norman,
were all various developements of Christian architecture on a cruciform
plan with Christian symbols. Pointed architecture was the crowning
result of these earlier efforts, which may be considered as the centering
on which the great arch was turned.
The change which took place in the sixteenth century was not a
matter of mere taste, but a change of soul ; it was a great contention
between Christian and pagan ideas, in which the latter triumphed, and
for the first time inconsistency in architectural design was developed.
Previous to that period, architecture had always been a correct type of
the various systems, in which it was employed ; but, from the moment
the Christians adopted this fatal mistake, of reviving classic design, the
principles of architecture have been plunged into miserable confusion.
The gradual developement of inconsistent design is exceedingly curious.
ON THE REVIVAL OF
At first it was confined to the substitution of a bastard sort of Italian
detail to the ancient masses. This is particularly striking in the French
buildings erected during the reign of Francis the First, where the high-
pitched roofs, lofty turrets and chimney stacks, cresting buttresses, string
courses, mullions, and all the natural and consistent features of ancient
design, are retained with pagan capitals, friezes, and arabesques. 4 The
church of St. Eustache, at Paris, is a most remarkable example of this
period. It is perfectly Christian in its plan and arrangement, being
cruciform, with double aisles and lateral chapels, a grand apsis and
lady chapel, triforium, clerestory, pinnacles, flying buttresses, immense
height, and all the features of a noble pointed church ; but with debased
Roman mouldings, cornices, and details, the very canopies over the
images being composed of small pediments and domes. Thus, although
the builders of the so-called renaissance opened the flood-gates of inno-
vation, they had not lost natural composition ; they only decorated what
they required in an' inconsistent manner : but the temple and regularity
system had not come in. Indeed, we shall find that, down to the last
century, many of the old principles were retained in both domestic and
ecclesiastical buildings ; 5 and it is only within a comparatively short time
that error and inconsistency has attained its climax, by flattening and
concealing roofs, disguising chimney stacks, building sham windows,
compoing over brick walls, and dressing up Italian masses with pointed
details, gathered from all styles, dates, and buildings.
4 See Plate II.
5 In several of the manor-houses erected during the seventeenth century, the chimney
stacks are not concealed but ornamented, while the high roofs, gable ends, bay windows,
turrets, and consistent features of the old domestic architecture, are all retained.
Wadham College, and the chapel of Brazennose, at Oxford, and the chapel of Peter-
house, Cambridge, may also be cited as illustrations of this fact.
Even in some of the older squares in London, such as Red Lion and Queen's, the houses
had high roofs, with bold overhanging cornices and good dormer windows. Near New
Street, Fetter Lane, some houses of this character are yet remaining, and are infinitely
superior to the street erections of the present time.
Never, in the annals of architecture, have so many glorious oppor-
tunities offered, in a short space of time, for the accomplishment of noble
buildings. Within my own recollection, three royal palaces, half the
metropolis, churches without number, vast restorations, entire colleges
in both universities, galleries, civic buildings, bridges, hospitals, houses,
public monuments, in every possible variety ; and, with the exception of
the New Houses of Parliament, we have not one edifice of the whole
number that it is not painful to contemplate as a monument of national
art. Every chance has been fairly thrown away, as it offered : of money,
there has been an ample supply ; for the cost of the various works has
been something enormous ; in all cases sufficient to have produced a good
thing, and in many instances far more than was required. Now the
cause of all these failures is the same, and may be summed up in three
words, inconsistency of design. In no one instance has the purpose or
destination of the building formed the ground-work of the composi-
tion : Grecian or Gothic, Ecclesiastical or Civil, it has been a mere
system of adaptation. One man has adapted a temple, another a castle,
a third an abbey ; but temples, castles, and abbeys owed their existence
to other wants and systems, foreign to those for which they have been
employed, and utter failure is the natural result. Had the various
buildings been allowed to tell their own tale, to appear in their natural
garb, were it rich or simple, what variety and interest would our archi- ,
tectural monuments present ! but no, public buildings, it was said,
could not be Gothic, and therefore must be Grecian, that is, with
pediments and porticos. The reasons assigned were, 1st, That Gothic
was so very expensive, which is a positive falsehood ; and, 2ndly, That
they would not be in character. Now, how an edifice that is to consist
of doors, windows, w r alls, roofs, and chimneys, when consistently treated,
and these various features made parts of the design, can be less in
character, than a building where they are bunglingly concealed and
disguised, it is impossible to imagine. Yet this view, so utterly false
and absurd, has taken such hold on the minds of the million, that
ON THE REVIVAL OF
pointed architecture is considered, even at the present time, as out of the
question when public offices, law courts, bridges, and similar structures,
are in question ; and the erection of the Parliament Houses in the
national style is by far the greatest advance that has yet been gained
in the right direction. 6 Although it is impossible to notice in the limits
of this tract a hundredth part of the monstrous inconsistencies which are
to be found in every modern erection ; yet, to illustrate the truth of the
position I have advanced, it will be necessary to notice some of the
edifices that have been recently executed.
The Railways, had they been naturally treated, afforded a fine scope
for grand massive architecture. Little more was required than buttresses,
weathering, and segmental arches, resistance to lateral and perpendicular
pressure? I do not hesitate to say, that, by merely following out the
work that was required to its natural conclusion, building exactly what
was wanted in the simplest and most substantial manner, mere con-
struction, as the old men weathered the flanking walls of their defences,
tens of thousands of pounds could have been saved on every line,
and grand and durable masses of building been produced ; but from
8 The long lines of fronts and excessive repetition are certainly not in accordance with
the ancient spirit of civil architecture, but the detail is most consoling. We have the
arms and badges of a long succession of our kings ; images of ecclesiastical,' military, and
royal personages ; appropriate legends in beautiful text run on every scroll : each emblem
is characteristic of our country. The internal decoration is to be of a purely national
character, the absurdities of mythology utterly rejected, and, if the architect's design
for the great tower be carried out, we shall have a monument of English art which has
not been surpassed even in antiquity. This building is the morning star of the great
revival of national architecture and art : it is a complete and practical refutation of those
men who venture to assert that pointed architecture is not suitable for public edifices ; for
the plan embodies every possible convenience of access, light, and distribution of the various
halls and chambers, without the aid of false doors, blank windows, mock pediments, adapted
temple fronts, and show domes, to make up an elevation.
7 See Plate III.
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 11
inconsistency, whenever anything sublime has been attempted at the
stations, the result is perfectly ridiculous.
In every instance the architects have evidently considered it an oppor-
tunity for showing off' what they could do, instead of carrying out what
was required. Hence the colossal Grecian portico or gateway, 100 feet
high, for the cabs to drive through, and set down a few feet further,
at the 14-inch brick wall and sash-window booking-office. 8 This piece
of Brobdingnagiau absurdity must have cost the company a sum which
would have built a first-rate station, replete with convenience, and which
would have been really grand from its simplicity. The Great Western
stations, where any architectural display has been attempted, are mere
caricatures of pointed design, mock castellated work, huge tracery,
shields without bearings, ugly mouldings, no-meaning projections, and
all sorts of unaccountable breaks, to make up a design at once costly,
and offensive, and full of pretension. Then the reasons which have
instigated the various styles are so very absurd. At Kugby, because
Rugby School, as rebuilt lately, has bad battlements and turrets, the
old station had four half-turrets with the best side turned out, and a
few sham loop-holes ; a little further on, Gothic is dispensed with, and
the barrack style prevails ; at either end, two modern Greek buildings
of colossal dimensions, both of which are utterly useless. The London
gateway could not shelter a porter ; while the Birmingham entrance
was so unsuitable for its purpose, that the company have been obliged
to erect various sheds right up to the large columns, and tack on a
brick house, to make it at all available for its intended purpose.
These two gigantic piles of unmeaning masonry, raised at an enormous
cost, are a striking proof of the utter disregard paid by architects to the
pur poses of the building, they are called upon to design ; and many
thousands have been fairly thrown away on every line in the erection
of show fronts, and inconsistent and useless decoration.
8 See Plate III.
12 ON THE REVIVAL OF
The new Cemetery Companies have perpetrated the grossest ab-
surdities in the buildings they have erected. Of course there are a
superabundance of inverted torches, cinerary urns, and pagan emblems,
tastefully disposed by the side of neat gravel walks, among cypress trees
and weeping willows.
The central chapel is generally built on such a comprehensive plan
as to be adapted (in the modern sense) for each sect and denomination
in turn, as they may require its temporary use ; but the entrance gate-
way is usually selected for the grand display of the company's enterprise
and taste, as being well calculated from its position to induce persons to
patronize the undertaking by the purchase of shares or graves. This
is generally Egyptian, probably from some associations between the
word catacombs, which occurs in the prospectus of the company, and
the discoveries of Belzoni on the banks of the Nile ; and nearly opposite
the Green Man and Dog public-house, in the centre of a dead wall
(which serves as a cheap medium of advertisement for blacking and
shaving-strop manufacturers), a cement caricature of the entrance to
an Egyptian temple, 1\ inches to the foot, is erected, with convenient
lodges for the policeman and his wife, and a neat pair of cast iron
hieroglyphical gates, which would puzzle the most learned to decipher ;
while, to prevent any mistake, some such words as " New Economical
' Compressed Grave Cemetery Company " are inscribed in Grecian capitals
along the frieze, interspersed with hawk-headed divinities, and sur-
mounted by a huge representation of the winged Osiris bearing a gas
The new building of St. Paul's School is another flagrant instance
of the inconsistency of modern design. No sooner had the architect
received the commission of erecting a building for this ancient founda-
tion, than he turned to his stale collection of pagan authors for the
authorities and details of an edifice, that was instituted by one of the
9 See Plate IV.
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 13
most pious churchmen of England for the education of Christian youths ;
and nothing better suggested itself to his narrow mind, than an un-
meaning portico raised on stilts, serving only to darken the apartments
over which it projects, an incipient dome, and a pagan frieze ; and
this wretched jumble of incongruities has cost twice the amount, and I
speak advisedly, for which a truly appropriate structure, in accordance
with the founder's intentions, could have been erected. It is probable
that the architect never turned to study the life and intentions of
Dean Colet, the learned and worthy ecclesiastic to whose pious muni-
fictence the school owes its existence, or he might have been moved to
give some natural expression to the building which was intended to
fulfil so pious a design. The intentions of the Dean were most edi-
fying ; the ancient edifice was dedicated in honour of the Child Jesus ;
the founder was evidently desirous of placing before the youthful in-
mates our Redeemer as an obedient Child, knowing all things, Lord of
all, yet subject to his earthly parents. What could have been better
calculated to have infused the principles of a holy life into the minds
of the scholars ? What edifying sculptures of the various incidents
of our Redeemer's infancy might have ornamented the front of this
building ! Within the ancient school-room was an image of our Lord
in the temple, teaching the doctors, before which the poor scholars
sung a daily hymn and litany : but of all this not a vestige remains ;
and in lieu of holy Name or deed, we have fifty bulls' heads decorated
for pagan sacrifice, copied from the temple of the Sibyls, with not so
much as an image of the pious founder in a niche, to awaken the
remembrance of departed worth in the hearts and minds of those, who
daily benefit by Colet's bounty.
The new buildings of Christ's Hospital, although they certainly arc
free from the absurdities of paganism, are utterly deficient in the spirit
of ancient design and arrangement. The opening towards Newgate
Street might be mistaken for the back way to the Compter, or a place
where relatives might hold intercourse with the inmates of that prison.
14 ON THE REVIVAL OF
Although the tops of the posts which hold the gas lamps are ornamented
with some canopy work, they look exceedingly modern, and are another
striking proof of the inutility of employing the decoration without the
spirit of the old men. The hospital being destined for a place of study
and education, it should have been bounded towards the street with
a lofty and massive enclosure wall, entered through a regular tower
gate-house, like those in the Universities, with an image of the founder
in a niche, the arms of the city and of the hospital in the spandrils,
and appropriate legends and inscriptions.
One fine cloistered quadrangle of the original monastery was standing ;
another could have been added, with the refectory and necessary build-
ings, in the same severe style. The new dining-hall is designed on
the very opposite principles to those which influenced the ancient
builders. The walls of the old refectories were comparatively low, with
a high pitch of roof: here, the walls are enormously high, with lofty
windows, like a chapel, and covered by a flat roof; and, to make the
case still worse, the roof of the building is not the ceiling of the hall,
but this is a mere lath-and-plaster imitation, several feet below the actual
This edifice is, moreover, only Gothic on one side; for, if by chance
the spectator turns the corner, he perceives an elevation not at all dis-
similar to that of the Fleet Prison towards Farringdon Street. 10 As for
lu This wretched principle of making pointed masks for buildings pervades nearly all
the designs of what are termed the leading architects of the day. They work only for
show and effect, and neglect every portion of the building that does not meet the public
eye. On going over Lambeth Palace, I was particularly struck, on opening a door from the
new buildings (which are intended to be pointed, and externally have much good detail),
to find myself in a kitchen court that might have been in the rear of the Euston Hotel.
The architect had evidently laid aside his Gothic domino, and appeared in the regular sash-
window style, while under the lee of his principal elevation ; taking care, however, to
resume his disguise as soon as he shot out into public observation. Now, although it
would be most absurd and inconsistent to employ the same de-tail and enrichments on
all sides of a building placed in an enclosed position, yet the spirit of construction should
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 15
the new dormitories and the buildings erected on the site of the old
grammar school, they are strange piles of debased design ; but in this
respect the architect may have been influenced with reference to the
period when the school was founded.
Altogether, the works of Christ's Hospital arc sad failures, owing to
their not being conceived in the ancient spirit ; but still it must be
owned, in justice, that when they were commenced, so little were the
real principles of Christian architecture understood or recognised, 11 that
remain unchanged, even in the meanest offices. By simple chamfers and weatherings
the mere essentials of good masonry, the character is perfectly maintained in every portion
of the old buildings; and, what is most important, naturally maintained ; that is, it would
be impossible to do them better in any other way. Details of this kind do not require
designing, but only constructing. For instance, the best gate must be the strongest framed ;
the sharp edges must be taken off the stiles and rails without weakening the joints and
shoulders ; they are chamfered and stinted, and the gate must and will look admirably
well, and, of course, be in character with a pointed building, because a pointed building
is a natural building. In matters of ordinary use, a man must go out of his way to make a
bad thing : hence, in some of the rural districts, where workmen had not been poisoned
by modern ideas ; barns, sheds, &c., were built and framed, till very lately, on the true
old principles, with braces, knees, and the high pitch. So little, however, have most modjrn
architects any idea of beautiful effects that are produced by natural combinations and con-
struction, that in most pointed buildings they design the mere fronts, and give up all
these minor details in despair, as being so expensive to carry out ; when, in fact, treated
consistently, they cost less than the ordinary sort of fittings, and are twice as durable. This
point is so important, that I trust, before long, to produce a treatise on Natural Architecture,
where all these matters will be considered in detail.
11 The progress which the revival of pointed architecture has made within the last few
years is most surprising ; and, if it goes on in the same ratio, there is no doubt that
many architects of the day will hardly bear to look upon their present works in the
course of a few years. In my own case I can truly state, that in buildings which I
erected but a short time since, I can perceive numerous defects and errors, which I should
not now commit ; and, but a few years ago, I perpetrated abominations. Indeed, till I dis-
covered those laws of pointed design, which I set forth in my ' True Principles,' I had
no fixed rules to work upon, and frequently fell into error and extravagance. I designed
and drew from a sort of intuitive feeling for Christian architecture, in consequence
ON THE REVIVAL OF
it would have been difficult to have found any one, who could have
done much better than the architect employed. It is a positive duty
to point out all these defects, to prevent others from falling into similar
errors ; but, at the same time, we cannot but feel a personal respect for
a man, who endeavoured to revive the old thing, at a time when there
were few to sympathise or encourage.
The street elevations of the Bank of England are certainly the most
costly masses of absurdities that have ever been erected. It appears to
have been the aim of the architect to perpetrate as many unreal features
as possible in a wall. Sometimes we have a row of blank windows ;
sometimes a blocked-up entrance, five feet from the ground ; now the
wall is set back to dimmish the internal space, and a row of columns
occupies its place, well railed up to prevent any body getting under the
recess ; now it rises up, to make a break, and support some stone
urns and amphorae, to hide the chimney stacks and skylights. But
the grand feature is the N. w. angle, terminated by a portico, which,
in addition to having its doorway blocked up from the beginning, has
its pavement several feet above the street, without steps or means of
access, actually laid with spikes (///) thickly interspersed with frag-
ments of decaying orange-peel, stones, sticks, and bats, thrown there
by the little boys, who used occasionally to climb up and get behind
the columns before the introduction of the chevaux-de-frise.
It is impossible to state the vast sums that have been expended on
the various absurdities of this inconsistent building ; but, at a moderate
of the numerous examples I had seen. I entered into all the beauties of the style, but
I did not apply them with the feelings and on the principles of the old architects. I was only
an adapter, and often guilty of gross inconsistency. But, from the moment I understood
that the beauty of architectural design depended on its being the expression of what the
building required, and that for Christians that expression could only be correctly given
by the medium of pointed architecture, all difficulties vanished ; and I feel quite satisfied
that when this principle becomes generally understood, good, consistent, and picturesque
masses of building will arise, with all the variety and beauty of olden times.
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 17
computation, they would have erected the edifice, with all possible con-
venience and strength, and in a massive and appropriate character,
three times over ; and there then would have been, to use a commercial
phrase, a good balance in hand for other purposes.
Unfortunately for themselves and the public, the Bank Directors
appear to have more money than architectural judgment : hence, un-
meaning features and details are crowded together, to make their build-
ings costly, and the Soanean eccentricities in which they have indulged
so long seem only to have led them to continue the meretricious system
under another management, if we may judge by the decorations of the
New Dividend Office, where a room for the mere transaction of ordinary
business is overloaded with all sorts of unmeaning plaster ornament,
stuck up without the slightest propriety, or reference to the purpose of
The Halls of the various Companies, that have been rebuilt at such
an enormous cost, are really distressing to look upon. The origin and
history of these companies, connected as they are with that of the City
itself and many illustrious characters, afforded a fine scope for appro-
priate decoration, both in windows and on walls. For a hall, a noble
roof of oak, with quaint device and legend, with Dais and Oriel, would
seemingly have suggested itself as a matter of course to the architect,
especially as many of the ancient buildings formerly belonging to these
companies are actually figured in topographical works. The old kitchen,
with its chimney and louvre, the buttery, and capacious cellarage in
vaulted crypt beneath the hall, formed so many beautiful features of
the ancient design : the rich sideboards of plate, the portraits of departed
worthies, the banners and devices that hung aloft, the appropriate
' subtilties ' that garnished the feast, are all described by the old chro-
niclers ; the very barges still used by the companies might have sug-
gested good ideas ; but no, a square mass, with a few meagre lines
and breaks, Ionic ca^s and a flat pediment, is the extent to which
the imaginations of the great architects of the day could reach ; and at
18 ON THE REVIVAL OF
the main entrance into the city, one of the richest companies has erected
a building vastly resembling the sort of edifices they set up for com-
mercial banks in the larger provincial towns.
The present roof of the Guildhall itself is an abomination, and dis-
graceful to the civic authorities. The lower portions of the vast room
are beautiful in character ; and if the ancient roof was restored with all
its appropriate devices, and enriched with colour and gilding, the Guild-
hall would be worthy of the city, and second only to the Regal hall
at Westminster. The expense of its restoration would be a small matter
to such a body, and the effect would surely far more than repay the
In the New Royal Exchange we have another stale dish of ill-
adapted classicisms, heavy, dull, and uninteresting, nothing to awaken
national or civic associations in the minds of the citizens. Surely the
annals of one of the most ancient capitals of Europe might have sug-
gested appropriate ideas for its Exchange, where the London worthies
of successive centuries, with their bearings and devices, might have
filled each niche. The effigies of these men, many of whom rose from
poverty and obscurity, by humble industry, to wealth and high distinc-
tion, would serve as incitements for the imitation of this and successive
generations. Every edifice, erected by such a body as the citizens of
London, should embody the dignity and character of the first com-
mercial city in the world ; it should bear the impress of its antiquity,
its honour, and privileges. Why should civic splendour be confined
to an annual water excursion, or a single procession ? The banners,
the badges, the devices of the various Companies, Crafts, and Guilds,
that compose the freemen of London, are beautiful and appropriate
ornaments that should be carved on cap and wall, as well as painted
on banner and scutcheon. Those who regard these matters as childish
toys are surely mistaken in their estimate ; they .are honourable dis-
tinctions of skill and trade, invented by older and wiser men than
most of those who compose this generation of innovators. They form
the ties of fraternal intercourse and charity ; they afford protection in
decay and distress ; and no one can have attentively perused the annals
of London, and not admit that the various companies have been pro-
ductive of immense good, and were mainly instrumental in preserving
that honourable character which was formerly synonymous with an
English merchant. The abuses that may at present exist among these
companies, the degeneracy that is manifested in their buildings and
ornaments, form no argument for their abolition. On the contrary,
it should incite those in authority to revive the original practices and
dignity of their various societies, and to invest their buildings, by ap-
propriate decorations and symbols, with that local character and interest
which was the distinguishing feature of the ancient buildings of London.
The absence of every thing in the architecture of the New Exchange
calculated to awaken these local associations is truly lamentable. We
see nothing but huge pilasters, cornices, columns, and pediments, the
same things that have been done one hundred times over, larger or
smaller, in front of hotels, preaching-houses, news-rooms, and museums.
It was a fine opportunity to have restored the arched ambulatory, but-
tressed quadrangle, high-crested roofs, and turrets of old English archi-
tecture, with a lofty clocher or bell tower, of grand proportions, like
those which yet remain in the Flemish towns, and were formerly to be
found in all our cities. This might have contained a fine peal to
herald in the civic solemnities, with chimes for the successive hours
of the day, large clock faces, visible from all the cardinal points, and
surmounted with a grove of gilded vanes, overtopped by the famous
grasshopper of Gresham. Such a building, carried out with arms,
badges, images, and appropriate detail, would have been at once an
ornament and illustration of the city in which it was erected, admirably
adapted for the convenience of business, and certainly not more, if so
costly as the present unmeaning pile.
The faults of this, in common with modern structures in general,
are not so much owing to individuals as to a system. How is it
20 ON THE REVIVAL OF
possible for any good results to be achieved with the present principles
of architectural education ? Can we ever hope to see a Christian archi-
tect come forth from the Koyal Academy itself, where deadly errors
are instilled into the mind of the student, with the very rudiments
of instruction ? Pagan lectures, pagan designs, pagan casts and models,
pagan medals, and, as a reward for proficiency in these matters, a pagan
journey ! When the mind of a youth is well infused with contempt
for every association connected with his religion and country, he is
sent forth to measure temples, and, in due time, he returns to form
the nucleus of a fresh set of small Doric men, and to infest the country
with classical adaptations in Roman cement.
Of a truth, if architectural offices were stopped up, and fused as they
serve wasp's nests in the country, we should be freed from a mass
of poisonous matter that is still depositing in these places. God grant
me the means, and I would soon place architectural studies on such a
footing that the glory of these latter days should be even greater than
that of the former.
I would also have travelling students, but I would circumscribe their
limits. Durham the destination of some, Lincolnshire's steepled feus
for others, Northampton spires and Yorkshire's venerable piles, Suffolk
and Norfolk's coasts, Oxford, Devonshire, and Warwick, each county
should be indeed a school, for each is a school, where those who run
may read, and where volumes of ancient art lie open for all inquirers. 12
Then would they learn that the same perfection of design is to be
found in the simplicity of the village steeple, as in the towering central
spire, in the rubble walls of a sea-coast chancel, as in the hewn ashlar
and fair mouldings of the large churches, that consistency of archi-
tectural proportion has stunted the pillars of the simple nave, and
12 When the architectural student was well grounded in the traditions of his national
architecture, he should then proceed to study the grand continental cathedrals and churches,
especially the flower and queen of Christian Churches, the Minster at Cologne.
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 21
roofed it with massive beams, while it has lifted the shafts of the
cathedral to a prodigious height, and vaulted the vast space with stone,
that architectural skill consists in embodying and expressing the
structure required, and not in disguising it by borrowed features. The
peasant's hut, the yeoman's cottage, the farmer's house, the baronial
hall, may be each perfect in its kind : the student should visit village
and town, hamlet and city ; he should be a minute observer of the
animal and vegetable creation, of the grand effects of nature. The rocky
coast, the fertile valley, the extended plain, the wooded hills, the river's
bank, are all grand points to work upon ; and so well did the ancient
builders adapt their edifices to localities, that they seemed as if they
formed a portion of nature itself, grappling and growing from the sites
in which they are placed.
The rubble stones and flinty beach furnish stores as rich for the
natural architect, as the limestone quarry or granite rock. What beau-
tiful diversity does the face of this dear island present, what a school for
study and contemplation, where are to be found twenty-four cathedrals,
the finest monastic buildings, thousands of parochial churches, and inter-
esting remains of antiquity without number, all within a boundary of a
few hundred miles !
The student of Christian architecture should also imbue his mind
with the mysteries of his Faith, the history of the Church, the lives
of those glorious Saints and Martyrs that it has produced in all ages,
especially those who, by birth or mission, are connected with the remains
of ancient piety in this land. He should also be well acquainted with
the annals of his country, its constitutions, laws, privileges, and dig-
nities, the liturgy and rubrics of the Church, customs and ceremonies,
topographical antiquities, local peculiarities, and natural resources.
The face of the country would be then no longer disfigured by in-
congruous and eccentric erections, compounds of all styles and countries ;
but we should have structures whose arrangement and detail would be
in accordance with our Faith, customs, and natural traditions. Climate
22 ON THE REVIVAL OF
would again regulate forms of covering, and positions of buildings.
Local interest would be restored, and English architecture assume a
distinct and dignified position in the history of art ; for we do not wish
to produce mere servile imitators of former excellence of any kind, but
men imbued with the consistent spirit of the ancient architects, who
would work on their principles, and carry them out as the old men
would have done, had they been placed in similar circumstances, and
with similar wants to ourselves.
The great objection raised against the revival of our ancient archi-
tecture by the advocates of paganism is the great difference between
the present habits and necessities, and those which existed at the period
when pointed architecture was most nourishing. But, in reply to this
difficulty, to which I have previously alluded, it will not be difficult to
prove, that while we have nothing in common with Pompeian villas
and Greek temples, the ancient churches and mansions furnish us with
perfect types for our present purposes ; and, in order to illustrate this
most important subject, I have set forth in detail the intimate connexion
that can be traced between the existing system and English antiquity.
With that portion of the English clergy who have the happiness
of being in communion with the Holy See, there cannot arise any
doubt whatever. They hold precisely the same faith, and in essentials
retain the same ritual, as the ancient English Church. They, con-
sequently, require precisely the same arrangement of church, the same
symbols and ornaments, as were general in this country previous to
the schism. The various religious communities are bound by the same
rule to recite the same office, and have the same duties to perform
as those who erected and used the many solemn buildings, now, alas !
in ruins, which are scattered all over the land. These, at least, cannot
plead novelties for their paganism ; and in the English Catholic body,
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 23
any departure from Catholic architecture is utterly inexcusable. It can
only be accounted for from extreme ignorance, or extreme perverseness,
both reasons equally disgraceful. The plea of poverty cannot be ad-
mitted ; for it is well known that churches which are erected on Catholic
traditions are less costly than pagan rooms : and in Ireland, where the
externals of religion are positively shocking and painful to behold, 13
immense sums, subscribed by the zeal of the people, have been squandered
13 There is no country in Europe where the externals of religion present so distressing
an aspect as Ireland : in the rural districts, the extreme of poverty, dirt, and neglect ;
while, in the large towns, a lavish display of the vilest trash about the altars, and burlesques
of classic or pointed design for churches, most costly and most offensive. A bad copy of
that wretched compound of pagan and protestant architecture, St. Pancras New Church, in
London, has been erected at Ardagh, and dignified by the name of a Cathedral. The
Irish journals are lavish in their praise of this and similar structures, and boast of them
as honourable examples of national skill, as if there was any thing national in these im-
portations of English and continental abortions. If the clergy and gentry of Ireland pos-
sessed one spark of real national feeling, they would revive and restore those solemn piles
of buildings which formerly covered that island of saints, and which are associated with
the holiest and most honourable recollections of her history. Many of these were indeed
rude and simple ; but, massive and solemn, they harmonized most perfectly with the wild
and rocky localities in which they were erected. The real Irish ecclesiastical architecture
might be revived at a considerably less cost than is now actually expended on the con-
struction of monstrosities ; and the ignorance and apathy of the clergy on this most im-
portant subject is truly deplorable. They seem wedded to bad, paltry, and modern ideas ;
and this, too, with a people who are, perhaps, of all Catholic nations existing, the most
worthy of solemn churches, and who would enter fully into the spirit and use of the ancient
buildings, if they had them, men whose faith no temporal loss or suffering could subdue,
who rise before daybreak and traverse miles of country to assist at the divine Office, and
who would hail with enthusiasm any return to the solemn rites of their forefathers. If
religion in Ireland were only to resume its ancient solemnity in externals, it would be
indeed a spectacle for angels ; but, at present, such are the absurdities, indecencies, and
vulgarities displayed in all matters connected with Divine worship, that, notwithstanding
the edifying piety of the people, and the exemplary conduct of many of the clergy, it is
impossible to assist at the celebration of religious rites without feeling acutely pained and
24 ON THE REVIVAL OF
on architectural absurdities. Hitherto the revival of Catholic art has
been rather the result of amazing zeal amongst a few noble and devout
individuals, than the spontaneous act of the body ; and so-called Catholic
periodicals must cease to talk of splendid Grecian altars, and solemn
consecrations, where some fiddler and his pupil delighted the audience
with their strains, before they can occupy their proper and dignified
position as the restorers of Catholic architecture and solemnity. It is
most consoling, on the one hand, to know that good ideas are spreading ;
but humiliating to think that there should be room for the spread of
ideas and opinions which should fill the heart of every British Catholic,
and animate them as one man in the glorious and holy cause. And,
alas ! whilst a few great spirits devote their fortune and energies for
the revival of departed solemnity, others of equal temporal means are
content to look on with apathy, if not actually to oppose their labours.
Some apparently reject tradition and authority, espouse the cause of
paganism, and follow in the wake of protestant monstrosities, with the
externals of a temple, and the interior of a conventicle ; while the multi-
tude neither know nor care any thing about the matter. Men of devout
minds are scandalized with the foreign trumpery that is introduced on
the most solemn occasions, and the noisy theatrical effects that are sub-
stituted for the solemn chants and hymns of the Church. These things
are most distressing on the continent, although they are modified by
the vastness of the churches and the remains of antiquity ; but here,
in England, where they are performed in buildings not dissimilar to
assembly-rooms, they are intolerable, and must convey to the casual and
uninstructed spectator the lowest idea of Catholic rites. It is painful to
see these wretched practices puffed off in Catholic journals, and de-
scribed much in the same strain as is used in the Theatrical Observer,
a list of performers, criticisms on the execution of solos and quartets
during that Holy Sacrifice which fills even the angels with awe and
reverence. Since Christ himself hung abandoned and bleeding on the
Cross of Calvary, never has so sad a spectacle been exhibited to the
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 25
afflicted Christian as is presented in many modern Catholic chapels,
where the adorable Victim is offered up by the Priests of God's Church,
disguised in miserable dresses intended for the sacred vestments, sur-
rounded by a scoffing auditory of protestant sight-seekers who have
paid a few shillings a head to grin at mysteries which they do not un-
derstand, and to hear the performances of an infidel troop of mercenary
musicians, hired to sing symbols of faith they disbelieve, and salutations
to that Holy Sacrament they mock and deny.
With respect to the present Anglican Church the case is, of course, by
no means so clear and positive. Still, if she acted on her present acknow-
ledged doctrines and discipline, without even taking into consideration
any probable change in her position, she must turn to Catholic antiquity
for the types of her architecture and ornament.
This argument is based on principles and formularies ; for abuses
cannot be either advanced or received in support of any position. I am
not taking into account the various grades of opinion and practice that
are unhappily to be found among those who act in the capacity of
Anglican clergymen. I deal only with canons and rubrics ; and if these
were properly and universally carried out, a vast move would be made
in the right direction.
1. The ancient form and arrangement of the parochial churches,
consisting of nave and chancel, should be preserved. The words respect-
ing the latter are as follow : " The chancels shall remain as in times
past;" and although it is a notorious fact that they did not so remain,
yet their desecration was chiefly owing to the mass of illiterate func-
tionaries, who, on the deprivation of the Catholic ecclesiastics under
Elizabeth, were intruded not only into parochial cures, but into the.
chairs of the ancient bishoprics. .In truth, the so-called reformers of
the reign of Edward the Sixth and Elizabeth, and even the com-
pilers of the Common Prayer itself, were far more protestant than the
formularies which were retained, and to which they subscribed rather
with the hope of being thereby able to effect further mischief and ad-
26 ON THE REVIVAL OF
vance puritauism, than to restore departed solemnity. 14 Under the
Primate Laud, a surprising re-action took place, unfortunate and un-
satisfactory in result, but an evident proof of the Catholic feeling which
would have developed itself in the Anglican Church, had it not been
for the pressure of the puritan faction. But to return, taking the words
as they stand, The chancels shall remain as in times past; can there
be any reasonable doubt as to the propriety of adhering strictly to the
ancient models, of which so many truly beautiful examples remain for
2. A tower for bells is required ; and this important feature of a
church was never omitted in England even during the most debased
period of ecclesiastical architecture. A tower naturally suggests a spire
as its termination ; and where is it possible to obtain a consistent type
for church steeples, excepting from those glorious churches whose entire
architecture and arrangements were generated by the peculiar wants of
Christian rites ? This must be evident to all on inspecting the wretched
attempts at classic steeples, where pediments and porticos, pillars and
cornices, are piled upon each other like children's card houses, to make
up an elevation without any grand connecting lines or consistent ar-
rangement, mere forced, unnatural combinations, most offensive to the
eye, as evident endeavours to make a vertical effect out of the features
of horizontal architecture. The rage for these pedimented and telescopic
steeples is nearly over ; and the ancient spire-crowned towers, adapted to
any scale, or degree of decoration, must be universally restored.
3. Galleries are contrary to the intentions of the Anglican Church.
They are of comparatively modern origin, erected for the most part since
the Revolution ; and their introduction can only be accounted for by a
similar degeneracy of spirit to that which has tolerated them in so many
modern Catholic churches, where they are far more objectionable and
14 See the Letters of the intruded Bishops to Foreign Protestants, in Strype's Annals.
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 27
A most laudable opposition has, however, been awakened both against
the erection of galleries and the modern abomination of pews, which
are equally intolerable ; and we may fairly hope before long to see both
utterly abolished. It is not, therefore, difficult to show that an ancient
church nave, with its pillars, aisles, low open carved oak benches, and
southern porch, is the proper model for present imitation.
4. There is no alteration whatever allowable for ancient usage in
respect of the Fonts : they are required to stand in their original
position, with covers, and secured by locks. These covers may be
made as lofty and ornamental as circumstances will admit. Many of
them were executed during the reigns of James, and Charles the First ;
and although, of course, debased in details, are designed in the mass on
the ancient principles, with a multitude of pinnacles and lesser canopies :
of these there are two fine specimens at Newcastle-on-Tyne, and another,
probably by the same artist, in Durham cathedral.
5. Pulpits, if properly placed on one side of the church, are not only
unobjectionable, but necessary. Numerous examples, both of wood and
stone, are to be found in the ancient English churches ; and the am-
bones of the basilicas are of primitive antiquity. Pulpits are only
offensive when intruded into the centre of the church, obscuring the
Altar, and turning the back of the preacher to the seat of the sacred
Mysteries : they should not be too elaborate in design, nor over large
in dimensions. With respect to reading pew, and clerk's desk, they
are of modern introduction ; a brass or wooden lectern and a litany
stool are amply sufficient. These are quite in accordance with ancient
practice : the Epistle, Gospel, and Lessons were originally intended to
be heard by the people, for which reason they were read from the top
of the rood lofts in cathedral churches, where the choir was divided
off by a close screen. The deacon, sub-deacon, or lector, out of respect
for the Altar, read turned sideways to the people, while all prayers were
addressed towards the East.
6. In many cases the chancel screens yet remain perfect, with much
28 ON THE REVIVAL OF
of their ancient painting, gilding, and imagery of Saints and Apostles.
They were never removed in any case by authority, but only from private
ignorance, or love of innovation ; and, so far from being opposed to
Anglican custom, they are mentioned as necessary in old episcopal visit-
ations. A screen of Italian detail, but of the old form, was erected
during the last century in the church of St. Peter, Cornhill, London.
In old St. Giles's Church, Bloomsbury, erected in the seventeenth
century, the chancel was separated by a large screen in the figure of
a beautiful gate, on which were carved three statues, on one side, St.
Paul with his sword, on the other, St. Barnabas with his book, and
over them, St. Peter and keys, with winged cherubim. This screen,
erected at the cost of Lady Dudley, was pulled down in 1640, and sold
by the puritan faction. 15 The choir screen of Wadham College Chapel,
Oxford, consecrated in 1613, is a very interesting existing specimen of the
continuance of the old traditional separation in the seventeenth century.
7. It is very certain that the consecrated stone Altars were sacri-
legiously demolished and horribly profaned by the protestant party,
both in Edward the Sixth's reign, and afterwards in the second year
of Elizabeth's, and that their chief aim thereby was to abolish the idea
of a sacrificial oblation among the people. But it is equally certain
that their revival was attempted under a better state of things in the
reign of Charles the First ; and surely those who grant the authorities
of Edward's time the right of demolishing, cannot deny the same right
of restoration to their successors at a subsequent period. There can
be but little doubt that stone Altars, placed at the eastern end of the
chancel, will be generally revived : these may have froutals of the
canonical colours, suited to the festivals, and richly embroidered with
appropriate devices ; and these froutals should not by any means be
covered during the time of communion, as the white linen cloth need
not be much wider than the top of the altar, and should hang down
16 Parton's History of St. Giles's.
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 29
at each end. The use of lighted tapers on the altar seems to be
warranted by the words, that such ornaments shall be in use, as were in
use in the second year of King Edward the Sixth. 18 The candlesticks,
covers of the holy gospels, chalices, &c., should be made of precisely
the same form and decoration as those anciently used.
8. The two chairs, placed on each side of the communion table, are
of very modern introduction, and most unseemly, as having their backs
to the East. There can be no reason whatever for the clergy, when
sitting, not occupying the sedilia, especially in cathedral churches, where
the canon for the celebration of the communion requires the officiating
priest to be attended by a gospeller and epistler (Canon xxiv.).
9. No doubt whatever can exist at the present time respecting the
propriety of decorating churches with sacred symbols and imagery : the
lively representation of the life of our blessed Redeemer, and the works
and martyrdoms of the saints, cannot fail to be productive of much
edification and good.
The destruction of the ancient stained glass, resplendent with sacred
imagery, was mostly perpetrated by avowed puritans ; and even at the
worst periods there were found some good souls, who had both heart
and means to preserve many of these glorious works from destruction.
There are few cathedrals in Europe to compare in this respect to that
of York ; and many of our parochial churches are yet rich in glass.
Indeed, when we reflect that during the last century the Catholic
chapter of Amiens cathedral removed much of the magnificent glass
of the nave, and replaced it by white panes, to improve the effect, and
that modern Catholic ecclesiastics in France and Belgium have not only
taken out the stained glass, but the mullions and tracery also, by way
of lighting the church, we can feel less surprise at the sad losses we have
sustained in England.
16 Some excellent remarks on these and other matters connected with the celebration of
the Anglican Liturgy are contained in two sermons preached in St. James's Church, Enfield.
30 ON THE REVIVAL OF
In an admirable article which appeared in the British Critic,
the writer most justly observes, that circumstances have so changed
during the last three centuries, that some of the most violent innovators,
had they lived in our age of lax indifference, would have acted and
written in a very different strain. This remark will apply equally re-
specting the use of images. There is no fear at the present time of
sacred representations being regarded with superstitious reverence : there
is far greater danger that, holy symbols and figures being replaced
by pagan fables or bare walls, men will lose all remembrance of the
glorious mysteries they represented. It must be admitted that, in op-
position to true Catholic doctrine, some images were regarded by the
ignorant with a superstitious veneration, and certain representations were
tolerated in the churches, which were highly objectionable. There can
be but little doubt that all these matters would have been reformed,
without violence or occasion of scandal to weaker brethren, by the
decrees of the Council of Trent ; and nothing can be more absurd and
unjust than persons continually raking up, at the present time, old
extravagant indulgences and local practices, which have been condemned
centuries ago by ecclesiastical decrees, and some hundreds of which
are denounced separately in works printed by authority.
The use and intention of sacred images is to raise the heart of the
spectator from the figure to the reality, and to instruct the faithful
in the mysteries of religion by lively representation. The soundness of
this principle is fully acknowledged by the general practice of the
present time, in the multitude of biblical illustrations prepared for the
instruction of youth.
The Church only requires that honour and veneration for sacred
symbols which their character naturally demands, 17 and which is essen-
17 This is beautifully expressed in the following distich, inscribed over a crucifix at
effigt'cm Cljrtsti Sum transit's promts Ijonora,
Srt mm fffigiem 8fS quern Sratgnat aflora.
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 31
tially the same as that yet given in the Anglican Church to the holy
Name of Jesus ; and is paralleled in temporal matters by the external
respect shown to the throne in the House of Peers, or the quarter-
deck of a man-of-war. Sacred imagery is a noble field for the exercise
of the highest powers of art ; and painting and sculpture, when devoted
to the service of the Church, are calculated to improve and elevate the
religious feelings of a nation in a surprising degree.
Now to sum up. If, as I have shown, the Anglican Church requires
bell towers, spires, naves, chancels, screens, fonts, altars, sacred symbols
and ornaments, I will ask whether the types of these various features
are to be found in the ancient pointed churches of England, or in the
classic temples of antiquity ? Surely no one can hesitate to admit at
once that, in the former, we have perfect models for imitation ; while,
in the latter, we cannot find one corresponding arrangement or detail :
and therefore, even in its present position, by its own existing canons
and rubrics, the Anglican Church is bound, consistently, to work ex-
clusively on the principles of Christian architecture, and to renounce
all pagan adaptations whatsoever.
With regard to the collegiate establishments which have continued
in uninterrupted succession from the time of their original foundation,
and which are yet supported by the pious munificence of their founders,
and profess to be governed by their ancient statutes, there cannot exist
a doubt as to the propriety, if not the absolute duty, of their erecting
such buildings as they may require, in the same style and spirit as those
originally raised for the accommodation of their predecessors. I say
spirit as well as style ; for it is not merely sufficient to cut tracery and
build buttresses and pinnacles, for that has been done at a vast cost
and with miserable effect at King's and other colleges at Cambridge,
but to preserve that scholastic gravity of character, that reverend and
solemn appearance, that is found in the ancient erections. Any de-
parture from Catholic antiquity in a college is unpardonable : the
frequent daily services in the chapel, the assembly of the community
32 ON THE REVIVAL OF
in the refectory, the enclosure, the academical costume, the celibacy of
the inmates, are so many relics of ancient discipline which demand a
continuance of the original architecture ; and in those instances where
this has been neglected, not one can be pointed out which is not a
miserable failure and a compound of anomalies. Are Queen's, Wor-
cester, or the new quadrangle of Christ Church, to be compared for one
instant with Merton, . New College, or Magdalene ? They rather re-
semble sick hospitals or barracks of the last century, than the abodes of
piety and learning. Colonnades, pediments, and heathen gods, are but
sorry substitutes for solemn cloisters, high turrets, and images of reverend
founders and saintly patrons.
During the early part of the seventeenth century, under the influence
of the Laudian school, some collegiate buildings were erected in a far
more consistent spirit than the more recent examples. Among these, the
chapel of Peter-house, at Cambridge, is remarkable : the detail is, of
course, debased, but it is a very successful attempt for the period ; the
tracery windows are filled with stained glass ; the east window, of
five lights, containing the Crucifixion .of our Lord, with many saints
and angels in the tracery. The roof is waggon-headed, supported on
corbels ; the western bay forms an antechapel, being divided off by an
oak screen ; within this are double rows of oak stalls, with a large
This chapel must have been far richer in decoration when originallv
founded; as, in the report of the parliamentary writers in 1643, they
say, " We went to Peter-house and pulled down two mighty angels
" with wings, and divers other angels, with the four evangelists, and
" Peter with his keys, on the chapel door, together with about one
" hundred cherubim, and many superstitious letters in gold." This
account will show the correct intentions which actuated the collegiate
builders of even that period, and how completely paganism was excluded
from their designs : it is, indeed, monstrous, now that the ancient detail
is so much better understood, and the facilities of execution far greater,
to see vile compounds of Italian details rising amid the glories of
Catholic antiquity in both Oxford and Cambridge. It is some conso-
lation, however, to know that neither of these edifices are intended for
collegiate purposes, but as show galleries ; and I question much if they
will be allowed to remain even for that purpose, when the true prin-
ciples of Catholic architecture are more generally disseminated among
the members of the University.
Hospitals for the poor ought, undoubtedly, to be erected in a style
at once simple and religious : the aged should be provided with cloisters
for sheltered exercise, a common hall and kitchen, separate lodging
chambers, and a chapel for daily devotion ; religious emblems and
memorials of their benefactors should constitute the only decorations,
interspersed with pious scriptures and moral legends. Beautiful ex-
amples of these truly Christian institutions are to be found in the
ancient hospitals of Stamford, Leicester, Northampton, and Coventry,
or even in the later foundations of Whitgift at Croydon, and Abbott
I trust I have now set forth enough to prove that the religious
edifices of England, if consistently designed, should be arranged on
the same principles as the ancient buildings erected by our Catholic
forefathers. They must, of course, fall far short of the glorious solemnity
that can alone be attained in a truly Catholic position ; but, as far as
they go, they should have all in common with English antiquity, and
not the slightest accordance with classic arrangement and detail.
These are so intimately connected with ecclesiastical architecture, that
it seems necessary to enter upon some details on the subject before pro-
ceeding to other matters.
The principal reasons assigned by sculptors for resorting to classic
costume in their monumental designs has been the unsightly form of
34 ON THE REVIVAL OF
modern habits, which would render the effigy of the deceased ludicrous
in appearance, if represented with them.
This would be perfectly true if it were necessary, or even correct,
to adopt the ordinary costume of domestic life in such cases ; but it is
scarcely possible to find any person sufficiently dignified in station to
warrant an effigy, who does not hold some official situation, either
ecclesiastical, civil, or military ; the robes and insignia of which, if
properly and severely represented, would produce effigies little inferior
in solemn effect to the ancient ones. 18 To represent persons of the
present century in the costume of the fourteenth, is little less incon-
sistent than to envelope them in the Roman toga. As I have before
said, architecture and art should be a consistent expression of the period,
and it will not be difficult to show, that, adhering strictly to these prin-
ciples, we can in the present age revive the most solemn and Christian
memorials of the dead. 19
For the English clergy, there is not the slightest difficulty ; those
in communion with the Holy See using the same number and character
of sacred vestments as of old.
Bishops. Amice, albe, stole, tunic and dalmatic, maniple, with chasuble
or cope, mitre and staff, buskins and sandals.
Priests. Amice, albe, plain or apparelled, stole, maniple and chasuble,
holding a chalice with the most Holy Sacrament.
18 The ancient monumental effigies invariably represent the deceased persons in their robes
of state. Kings, bishops, priests, nobles, knights and their ladies, are habited in a manner
to express most fully their dignities and office, with a profusion of heraldic devices illustrative
of their birth and descent.
19 The present female costume is by no means ill-adapted for sepulchral brasses. In the
annexed Plate three are engraved, which are accurately copied from those in use. The devout
position of the hands contributes greatly to the solemn effect. (See Plate V.)
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 35
Deacons. Amice, albe, and dalmatic, stole and maniple, holding the
book of the Holy Gospels.
Sub-deacons. Amice, albe, tunic and maniple, with an empty chalice.
( Ostiarius \ ( keys.
Minor orders. \ ^ ector , I in surplices with \ J 00 ^ - - A
Hixorcist hands joined in prayer.
I Acolyth j ( cruets and candlestick.
These various dignities may be expressed, without effigy, by a cross
fleury, with the pastoral staff, chalice, book, or other instruments repre-
sented by the side.
The Anglican churchmen should be habited as follows :
Bishops in cassock, rochet, with a cope ; and there are instances of
the pastoral staff even in the seventeenth century.
Priests in cassock, albe (plain), with a cope or chasuble.
Deacons in an albe.
Effigies of clergy habited in surplices, with hoods, 20 would be perfectly
correct, and of these there are many ancient examples.
These habits would be rather in accordance with Anglican rubrics than
practice ; but they are enjoined by the present canons, and, though long
neglected, through the combined influence of indifference and puritan
principles, they will be doubtless restored with the revival of reverence
The Sovereign should be represented in the Royal robes which are still
used in the coronation, and which are precisely the same in number and
description as those used in the days of St. Edward. There is no reason
for not substituting appropriate and better designed ornaments in lieu
of those which are generally embroidered, and a more beautiful form
The present manner of wearing hoods hanging half down the back is most absurd.
They should come close up to the neck, with the ends falling from each shoulder in front,
as represented in the old monumental brasses.
36 ON THE REVIVAL OF
of crown than that actually in use : 21 a recumbent effigy, habited in these
robes, with the orb and sceptre, would not be inferior in dignity and
effect to those truly royal monuments in Westminster Abbey Church,
and would form an admirable contrast to the miserable memorials of the
English sovereigns of the last century at Windsor.
The various ranks of nobility should be represented in the state robes
peculiar to their several degrees, with their various family badges and
heraldic distinctions ; those who were Knights of the Garter or other
orders, with their mantles, collars, and other insignia, the lion and dog,
emblems of courage and fidelity, couchant at their feet. When on high
tombs, the niches round the sides may be most appropriately filled by
smaller effigies of relations, habited as mourners for the deceased, with
their several shields of arms. These are frequently introduced round the
ancient monuments, and might be revived with the greatest propriety.
Judges should, of course, be represented in their robes, Heralds, in
their tabards, Doctors of Medicine and Music, in the habit of their
degrees, Aldermen and civic functionaries, in their gowns of office ;
and for private gentlemen even, a long cloak, disposed in severe folds,
would produce a solemn effect.
For the humbler classes, a cross, with the instruments of their trades
or crafts, with marks and devices, would be sufficient and appropriate ;
and, in a rural district, a mere wooden or stone cross, with the name of
There is not, in fact, the least practical difficulty in reviving at the
present time consistent and Christian monuments for all classes of
persons, 22 and at the same cost now bestowed on pagan abominations,
21 The present crown is far too heavy and clumsy, and is not very dissimilar in form to
a lamp top. Still it is consoling to see that it is surmounted by a cross ; and the circlet is
yet alternated with crosses and fleurs-de-lis, emblematic of our Divine Kedeemer and
22 The annexed Plate represents brasses and other sepulchral monuments of a Christian
character, that have been lately revived. (See Plate VI.)
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 37
which disfigure both the consecrated enclosure which surrounds the
church, and the interior of the sacred building itself. Surely the
Cross must be the most appropriate emblem on the tombs of those
who profess to believe in God crucified for the redemption of man ;
and it is almost incredible, that while the dead are interred in con-
secrated ground, and in the ancient position, prayers for their souls'
repose acknowledged to be of apostolical antiquity, and the office recited
at their interment composed from the ancient ritual, the types of all
modern sepulchral monuments should be essentially pagan ; and urns,
broken pillars, extinguished lamps, inverted torches, and sarcophagi,
should have been substituted for recumbent effigies, angels, and emblems
of mercy and redemption.
It will not be difficult to show that the wants and purposes of Civil
Buildings now are almost identical with those of our English forefathers.
In the first place, climate, which necessarily regulates the pitch of
roofs, light, warmth, and internal arrangement, remains of course pre-
cisely the same as formerly. Secondly, we are governed by nearly the
same laws and same system of political economy. The Sovereign, with
the officers of state connected with the crown, the Houses of Peers
and Commons, the judges of the various courts of law, and form of
trial, the titles and rank of the nobility, the tenures by which their
lands are held, and the privileges they enjoy, the corporate bodies and
civic functionaries, are all essentially the same as in former days.
There is no country in Europe which has preserved so much of her
ancient system as England. We still see the grey tower of the parochial
church rising by the side of the manorial house ; and, in many instances,
the chantry chapel yet remains, with a long succession of family monu-
ments, from the armed crusader to that of the parent of the actual
38 ON THE REVIVAL OF
The palace of the Sovereign of such a country should exhibit the
evidence of dignified antiquity in every detail. Surely the long suc-
cession of our kings, their noble achievements, the honourable badges
and charges that they bore, would form subjects which would
naturally suggest themselves for the decorations of the various halls
and apartments. How truly grand and national would a building thus
designed and ornamented appear, where not only the general character,
but every detail, was expressive of the dignity of the country, and an
illustration of its history ! And are not the examples for such an edifice
to be found in the ancient glories of St. Stephen's and Windsor, the
habitations of our Edwards and Henrys ? The mere dining-hall of the
former, in its present denuded state, without tapestry, glass, or enrich-
ment, conveys a far grander impression to the mind of the beholder
than the most gorgeously decorated chambers of modern times ; and
what a splendid effect would be produced if one of those ancient palaces,
so suited for the residence of a Christian monarch, were restored, with
all its appropriate furniture and decorations !
The same remarks apply with equal force to the residences of the
nobility and gentry. How painful is it to behold, in the centre of a fine
old English park and vast domain, a square unsightly mass of bastard
Italian, without one expression of the faith, family, or country of the
owner! How contrary to the spirit of the ancient mansions, covered
with ancestral badges and memorials, and harmonizing in beautiful
irregularity with the face of nature !
Any modern invention which conduces to comfort, ^cleanliness, or dura-
bility, should be adopted by the consistent architect ; to copy a thing
merely because it is old, is just as absurd as the imitations of the modern
pagans. Our domestic architecture should have a peculiar expression
illustrative of our manners and habits : as the castle merged into the
baronial mansion, so it may be modified to suit actual necessities ; and
the smaller detached houses which the present state of society has gene-
rated, should possess a peculiar character : they are only objectionable
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 39
when made to appear diminutive representations of larger structures.
And it is not only possible, but easy, to work on the same consistent
principles as our ancestors in the erection of all our domestic buildings.
It would be absurd, with our present resources, to build wooden houses
in towns, which originated with the superabundance of that material
in former times, and the difficulty of transporting stone or brick ; but
brick fronts, adapted perfectly to internal convenience, and in accordance
with the legal provisions for town buildings, may be erected, which are
capable of producing excellent effect, if consistently treated, and termi-
nated by the natural form of the gable. 23
There is no reason in the world why noble cities, combining all
possible convenience of drainage, water-courses, and conveyance of gas, 24
may not be erected in the most consistent and yet Christian character.
Every building that is treated naturally, without disguise or conceal-
ment, cannot fail to look well.
If our present domestic buildings were only designed in accordance
with their actual purposes, they would appear equally picturesque with
the old ones ! Each edifice would tell its own tale, and, by diversity
of character, contribute to the grand effect of the whole.
inticntions anD iflecfmnical Emprotiemenw.
In matters purely mechanical, the Christian architect should gladly
avail himself of those improvements and increased facilities that are sug-
gested from time to time. The steam engine is a most valuable power
for sawing, raising, and cleansing stone, timber, and other materials.
The old masons used wheels of great diameter in the erection of their
buildings : this was, of course, a great increase of power over mere
23 See Plate VII.
24 A gas lamp, if designed simply with reference to its use, would be an inoffensive object ;
but when it is composed of a Eoman altar, surmounted by the fasces, and terminated by an
incense tripod, it becomes perfectly ridiculous.
40 ON THE REVIVAL OF
manual strength ; and had they been acquainted with a greater, they
would undoubtedly have used it. Why should ten minutes be expended
in raising a body which could be equally well done in two ? The readier
and cheaper the mechanical part of building can be rendered, the
greater will be the effect for the funds ; and if I were engaged in the
erection of a vast church, I should certainly set up an engine that would
saw blocks, turn detached shafts, and raise the various materials to the
required heights. By saving and expedition in these matters, there
would be more funds and a greater amount of manual labour to expend
on enrichments and variety of detail.
The whole history of Pointed Architecture is a series of inventions :
time was when the most beautiful productions of antiquity were novelties.
It is only when mechanical invention intrudes on the confines of art, and
tends to subvert the principles which it should advance, that it becomes
objectionable. Putty pressing, plaster and iron casting for ornaments,
wood burning, &c., are not to be rejected because such methods were
unknown to our ancestors, but on account of their being opposed in their
very nature to the true principles of art and design, by substituting mo-
notonous repetitions for beautiful variety, flatness of execution for bold
relief, encouraging cheap and false magnificence, and reducing the varied
principles of ornamental design, which should be in strict accordance
with the various buildings and purposes in which it is used, to a mere
ready-made manufacture. But while, on the one hand, we should utterly
reject the use of castings as substitutes for ornamental sculpture, we
should eagerly avail ourselves of the great improvements in the working
of metals for constructive purposes.
Had the old builders possessed our means of obtaining and working
iron, they would have availed themselves of it to a great extent. The
want of proper ties has occasioned most serious settlements, and even the
destruction of some of the finest Christian edifices, the very weight
and massiveness of the work causing it frequently to settle and give.
And there is scarcely a tower of great dimensions erected during the
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 41
middle ages, which it has not been necessary to tie together by iron
chains and key wedges at a subsequent period. Now, it must be evident
that if these ties were built in the first instance in the body of the work,
they would be free from the action of atmosphere, and prevent both
fissures and the spreading of the work which would render their ultimate
In a cruciform church these precautions are most necessary. The
lateral thrust of nave, transept, and choir arches, both of aisles and tri-
forium, rest against the four great central pillars, which are only enabled
to resist the pressure by the weight of the great tower resting on them.
But this in many cases was insufficient, and, when they began to give,
has hastened their destruction. Hence the inverted arches at Wells, and
the screens at Salisbury and Canterbury, which have been added long
subsequently to the erection of the original buildings, to confine the
pillars from giving inwards. At Amiens they are tied by immense
chains extending the whole length of the nave and choir.
Had this point been considered in the original structures, the pressure
might have been effectually counteracted, by inserting iron shafts in the
centre of the great piers, and chains from them in the thickness of the
triforium and clerestory, reaching to the four extremities of the building.
I merely mention this one fact, amongst a number that might be
adduced, to show that we possess facilities and materials unknown to our
ancestors, and which would have greatly added to the stability of the
structures they erected. We do not want to arrest the course of in-
ventions, but to confine these inventions to their legitimate uses, and to
prevent their substitution for nobler arts.
We approve highly of cast iron for constructive purposes, while we
denounce it as the meagre substitute for masons' skill. We would gladly
employ Roman cement in brick walling, while we abominate it in the
mock erections of the day. We consider branding irons exceedingly
useful for marking owners' and makers' names on carts and imple-
ments of trade, but we cannot allow them to replace the carver's art.
42 ON THE REVIVAL OF
In a word, we should neither cling pertinaciously to ancient methods
of building, solely on the score of antiquity, nor reject inventions be-
cause of their novelty, but try both by sound and consistent principles,
and act accordingly.
Another great mistake of modern times is the supposition that Christian
architecture will not afford sufficient scope for the art of sculpture. So
far from this, while a Greek temple admits only of such decoration in the
pediment and round the frieze, every portion of a Christian church may
and should be covered with sculpture of the most varied kind, vegetable,
animal, and the human figure, in wonderful diversity of position and
aspect ; sometimes single in niches, sometimes in groups of high relief,
and in subjects of the most majestic character. At the entrances of
the church, the lessening arches, which form the vast recesses, are lined
with angels, patriarchs, prophets, kings, martyrs, bishops, and con-
fessors ; 25 above the doorways, the genealogy of our Divine Eedeemer,
his birth, passion, the doom or final judgment, subjects which, it must
be admitted, afford the fullest scope for the developement of the highest
powers of human skill. While the whole exterior of the sacred edifice,
even to the summit of the towers, may be covered with images and
sculpture, the interior presents an equally extensive field for the exercise
of art in all possible variety of size and position, from the minute groups
of the stall seats, to the long line of sacred history that surrounds the
choir ; from the enrichments of the aisle walls, level with the eye, to
the sculptured bosses, luxuriant in foliage and rich in imagery, that key
the vaulted roof at an immense elevation. Flaxman 26 was the first of
25 Casts from some of these images at Notre Dame, Paris, which have lately been brought
over to the School of Design, are wonderful examples of Christian art.
28 Had Flaxman lived a few years later, he would have been a great Christian artist; but
in his day men never thought it possible to do any thing fine in art that was not derived
from paganism : hence his great powers were unhappily expended in illustrating fables of
classic antiquity, instead of embodying edifying truths. His observations on the excellence of
our Catholic ancestors, and his lamentations on the destruction of their works, are heartfelt
mi gnum HIKI:H
TiT" BIIUkM TTQ-HFngrr T7"
^THODU DF SCZEETSEE
the modern school who bore testimony both to the excellence of Christian
sculpture and the scope that was afforded for the exercise of the art
in pointed structures. His lectures contain several remarks on the
admirable works executed in the English cathedrals, even while art
was at a comparatively low ebb in Italy. There is in fact no dif-
ference of principle between the fine draperied works of the classic
sculptors and those of the middle ages ; the difference is in the objects
represented and the motives of the artists. The principal object of the
former was to display the human figure, which the latter, from the
Christian principle of modesty, rather concealed. The pagans wished to
perpetuate human feelings, the Christians, the divine.
But to talk of Gothic and Grecian drapery in sculpture as distinct in
principle, is absurd ; the art of either period is a grand expression of
nature, and the distinct character is produced by the change of habits
in the middle ages for those of classic antiquity. We have the cope
instead of a toga, and the chasuble for a tunic. There is also a great
difference in the texture of the various stuffs, the square folds of the
Christian images being produced by the material then in use. Different
circumstances and systems must generate different expressions of art.
Phidias himself, had he worked under the influence of the Christian
faith, would have exhibited equal skill in abstract art, but with a very
The great error of modern sculptors is their servile imitation of classic
art, without endeavouring to embody existing principles in their works.
Unless art is the expression of the system it should illustrate, it loses
and eloquent ; and when we consider that at the period he wrote, the most glorious works
of the middle ages were treated with apathy and even derision, the Christian artist of the
present time must feel grateful for the good he effected by setting forth neglected truth.
We can only regret that he did not follow out his convictions to their legitimate results, at
least in the sepulchral monuments that were intrusted to him, for ho does not appear to have
executed one which had the slightest reference to Catholic traditions.
27 See Plate VIII.
ON THE REVIVAL OF
at once its greatest claim on admiration, and fails to awaken any feelings
of sympathy in the heart of the spectator.
Since the fifteenth century, the saints of the Church have been made
to resemble, as closely as possible, heathen divinities. The Christian
mysteries have been used as a mere vehicle for the revival of pagan
forms and the exhibition of the artist's anatomical skill. They were no
longer productions to edify the faithful, but to advance the fame of
the author ; and all consistency and propriety was sacrificed for this
unworthy end. 28
The albe of purity and chaste girdle were exchanged for light and often
indecent costume, to exhibit the human figure after the manner of an
opera dancer ; and modern artists were so imbued with classic design
and ideas, that when they attempted to work for the Church, their repre-
sentations of the mysteries of religion were scarcely recognisable from
the fables of mythology. 29 We do not want to revive a facsimile of
the works or style of any particular individual, or even period ; but it is
the devotion, majesty, and repose of Christian art, for which ive are con-
tending ; it is not a style, but a principle. Surely all the improvements
that are consequent on the study of anatomy and the proportions of the
human figure can be engrafted on ancient excellence ; and an image, in
correct costume, and treated in accordance with Catholic traditions,
would afford equal scope for the display of the sculptor's art as a half-
naked figure in a distorted attitude, more resembling a maniac who had
hastily snatched a blanket for a covering than a canonized saint.
Did our artists of the present time work with the same faith and
humility as the old men, and strive to express the doctrines of the Church
rather than their own peculiar notions, we might soon have a school
28 See Plate IX.
29 It is but just to remark, that the modern German school, with the great Overbeck, are
not only free from this reproach, but deserving of the warmest eulogiums and respect for
their glorious revival of Christian art and traditions.
RY" L1LU CH Kim IAN
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 45
of sculpture equal in sentiment and devotion, and superior in anatomical
correctness, to that which existed during the ages of faith.
In conclusion, it must appear evident that the present revival of
ancient architecture iii this country is based on the soundest and most
consistent principles. It is warranted by religion, government, climate,
and the wants of society. It is a perfect expression of all we should hold
sacred, honourable, and national, and connected with the holiest and
dearest associations ; nor is there in the whole world a country which
is better calculated for the revival of ancient excellence and solemnity
than England. We have immense power, vast wealth, and great though
often misdirected zeal. Sounder views and opinions are daily gaining
ground, feelings of reverence .for the past increasing in an extraordinary
degree ; and, with all her faults, we must remember that England, while
she was the last to abandon Christian architecture, has been foremost
in hailing and aiding its revival. Even in the worst and darkest times
of pagan and protestant ascendancy, some of her sons were found able
and willing advocates of her ancient glory ; and, notwithstanding the
repeated mutilations they have undergone, and the sad destruction of
the monastic churches, our ecclesiastical edifices exhibit far more perfect
traces of their ancient beauty than is to be found in many continental
buildings, which, although they have escaped the hammer of the fanatic,
have been more fatally injured from the chisels and pencils of revived
We should not try the deeds of England during the last three centuries
by those which preceded them, but by the corresponding history of sur-
rounding nations ; and we shall find that throughout the Christian world,
the period which has intervened since the sixteenth century has been one
of bitter trial and degradation to the Church. Wherever we go, we see
the great ecclesiastical works arrested at the same period, towers half
erected, naves unfinished, details uncarved, either a total stoppage of
works, or bastard pagan productions that had far better have been left
undone. For a while throughout Europe, Catholic art and traditions lay
40 ON THE REVIVAL OF
neglected and despised, while paganism ruled triumphantly in the palace,
penetrated the cloister, and even raised its detested head under the vaulted
cathedrals and over the high altars of Christendom. When these lament-
able facts are considered, together with the fearful scourge in the form
of war and revolution that has passed over the countries of the continent,
involving abbey and cathedral, church and convent, in one common
ruin, and reducing the most dignified clergy of France to the condition
of stipendiary clerks, sharing a miserable pittance with the Calvinist
minister and Jewish rabbi, received from the hands of a government
official, not one rood of land left for priest or altar, of all the vast estates
which ancient piety had bequeathed, we may find cause for thankfulness
that matters are not worse than they are in our own country.
The spirit of Dunstan, of Anselm, and St. Thomas, were extinct ere
that of Cranmer could have prevailed. We must not forget that this
country was separated from the Holy See by the consent of the canonically
instituted clergy of this realm, with a few noble but rare exceptions.
The people were actually betrayed by their own lawful pastors. There
were no missionaries from the Holy See to dispense the sacraments to
those who remained faithful. And this vital change was effected without
the least external demonstration : protestant opinions were not even
broached till some years after the schism ; the externals of religion
remained precisely the same ; and even when open scenes of sacrilege
and violence began, they were conducted in some measure by authority :
mass was sung by the old clergy in Canterbury, while the bones of
its saintly martyr were burning in the garth, and his name and festival
were erased by the churchmen from every missal and breviary in
the country ; while men of family and distinction, professing the old
faith, and receiving the sacraments according to the ancient ritual,
shared the property of the Church with avidity. And if we may judge
from the disgraceful trials that have lately arisen, many who bear the
name of Catholic would rob the Church in her present need and poverty,
as eagerly and with as little remorse as they did in the clays of her
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 47
former possessions. I mention these things, because it is a common
error, into which I was formerly led, to cast the whole odium of the loss
of the ancient faith in England on the king and nobles, whereas the
Catholic hierarchy of this land, who basely surrendered the sacred charge
they should have defended even to death, essentially contributed to the
sad change. It is true they never contemplated the possibility of such
a state of things as we see, or, indeed, which shortly succeeded to their
base compliance ; and many who had weakly consented afterwards rallied,
but too late. It is a true saying, " C'est le premier pas qui coute ; " and
so indeed it turned out, to our bitter cost.
Regarding, therefore, the state of religion for the last three centuries
as a punishment for the unfaithfulness of the English Church, we cannot
but feel grateful that, notwithstanding all the repeated efforts and suc-
cesses of the bitterest puritans, so many traces of the ancient paths
have yet been preserved, to guide those who are now striving to regain
the holy place. There is something surely providential in the reten-
tion of the ancient titles and dignities, the daily chant of the divine
office in the cathedrals and colleges, the dedication of churches in
honour of the ancient saints, the consecration of ground for the burial
of the dead, the preservation of the chapel and order of England's
patron, St. George, the Catholic character of many portions of the
liturgy, with its calendar of fasts and festivals, the solemn service and
anointing of the sovereign at the coronation. These, and many more,
seem so many pledges that God will not be angry with this land for
ever ; for there is no other instance of a country having fallen into
the miserable state of protestantism, having retained so much that is
calculated to awaken in the breasts of her children a love and reverence
for the past, and to lead them back to union with the see of blessed
Peter, from whence the day-star of truth first beamed upon us.
Dugdale, Spelman, Bingham, Collier, Ashmole, and many illustrious
English antiquaries and historians, might be cited to prove the great
reverence for Catholic antiquity that was occasionally manifested in this
48 ON THE REVIVAL OF
country, even while the puritan faction was proceeding to violence. The
spirit of Dugdale's text and plates is most Catholic ; every line of his
Monasticon might have been written in a cloister of ancient Benedictines,
while his History of St. Paul's exhibits a depth of piety and devotion
towards the glory of God's Church, worthy of more ancient days.
Spelman, in his works, expresses himself on the subject of sacrilegious
spoliation in a manner that must strike shame and terror into' the hearts
of those Catholics who would spoil the Church of which they profess
themselves the children ; and he draws a fearful but true picture of the
dismal disasters that befel the plunderers of the Church at the period of
the general dissolution.
It is almost inconceivable that men, who had been educated in the
principles of the ancient faith, who had partaken of the sacraments
of the Church, and knelt at its altars, should have demolished, for the
sake of stone, timber, and lead, edifices whose beauty and skill would
have secured them from injury even in this generation, and which
should have possessed in their eyes the highest claim on their vene-
ration ; and we can only account for the atrocities which accom-
panied the ascendancy of protestantism in England, by supposing the
perpetrators blinded to the enormity of their own actions by the
punishment of God. To hear of the choirs of vast churches stript and
roofless, tombs of prelates and nobles ransacked for lead, brass rent
from graves, the consecrated vessels of the sanctuary profaned and
melted, the bones of saints and martyrs burnt, the images of our
Divine Redeemer trodden under foot, dragged about and consumed,
vestments converted to domestic use, monastic libraries pillaged and
burnt, and all this without foreign foe or invasion, in once and then
but lately Catholic England, and perpetrated by men who had been
born and bred in the Catholic Church, seems like a fearful dream, and
almost incredible ; and now the sad recital of destruction alone, moves
us more than even the record of ancient glory : we lament over the
prostrate pillars and scattered fragments of some once noble pile, we
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 49
raise the fallen cross, bare the ancient legend on the wall, collect
the fragments from the shattered panes, and clear the accumulating
soil from moulded base and tomb. The study of Catholic antiquity
is so associated with ancient piety and holy recollections, that the soul is
insensibly drawn from the contemplation of material objects to spiritual
An Englishman needs not controversial writings to lead him to the
faith of his fathers ; it is written on the wall, on the window, on the
pavement, by the highway. Let him but look on the tombs of those
who occupy the most honourable position in the history of his country,
the devout, the noble, the valiant, and the wise, and he will behold
them with clasped hands invoking the saints of Holy Church, whilst
the legend round the slabs begs the prayers of the passers-by for their
souls' repose. At Canterbury he beholds the pallium, emblem of the
jurisdiction conferred by St. Gregory on the blessed Austen, first primate
of this land ; at York, the keys of Peter, with triple crowns, are carved
on buttress, parapet, and wall. Scarcely one village church or crumbling
ruin that does not bear some badge of ancient faith and glory. Now
the crosses on the walls tell of anointings with holy chrism and solemn
dedication, the sculptured font, of sacraments seven, and regeneration
in the laver of grace : the legend on the bell inspires veneration for
these consecrated heralds of the Church ; the chalice and host over
priestly tomb teaches of altar and sacrifice ; the iron-clasped ambry,
sculptured in the wall, bears record of holy Eucharist reserved for
ghostly food, the stoups in porch, and Galilee of hallowed water, and
purification before prayer ; while window, niche, spandril, and tower set
forth, by pious effigies, that glorious company of angels, prophets,
apostles, martyrs, and confessors, who, glorified in heaven, watch over
and intercede for the faithful upon earth.
The Cross that emblem of a Christian's hopes still surmounts spire
and gable ; in flaming red it waves from the masts of our navy, over the
towers of the sovereign's palace, and is blazoned on London's shield.
50 ON THE REVIVAL OF
The order of St. George, our patron saint, founded by King Edward
of famous memory, is yet the highest honour that can be conferred by
sovereigns on the subject ; and his chapel is glorious, and his feast kept
solemnly. Our cities, towns, and localities, the rocky islands which
surround our shores, are yet designated by the names of those saints of
old through whose lives, martyrdoms, or benefactions, they have become
The various seasons of the year are distinguished by the masses of
these holy tides. Scarcely is there one noble house or family whose
honourable bearings are not identical with those blazoned on ancient
church or window, or chantry tomb, which are so many witnesses of the
pious deeds and faith of their noble ancestry. Nay, more, our sovereign
is solemnly crowned before the shrine of the saintly Edward, exhorted to
follow in the footsteps of that pious king, and anointed with oil poured
from the same spoon that was held by Canterbury's prelates eight
In short, Catholicism is so interwoven with every thing sacred,
honourable, or glorious in England, that three centuries of puritanism,
indifference, and infidelity, have not been able effectually to separate it.
It clings to this land, and developes itself from time to time, as the
better feelings of a naturally honourable man who had been betrayed
into sin. What ! an Englishman and a protestant ! Oh, worse than
parricide, to sever those holy ties that bind him to the past, to deprive
himself of that sweet communion of soul with those holy men, now
blessed spirits with God, who brought this island from pagan obscurity
to the brightness of Christian light, who covered its once dreary face
with the noblest monuments of piety and skill, who gave those lands
which yet educate our youth, support the learned, and from whom we
received all we have yet left that is glorious, even to our political govern-
ment and privileges.
Can a man of soul look on the cross-crowned spire, and listen to the
chime of distant bells, or stand beneath the lofty vault of cathedral
CHRISTIAN ARCHITECTURE. 51
choir, or gaze on long and lessening aisles, or kneel by ancient tomb,
and yet protest against aught but that monstrous and unnatural system
that has mutilated their beauty and marred their fair design ? Surely
not. And truly such feelings of reverence for long-despised excellence
has been awakened among so many of our learned and devout country-
men, that we may begin to hope, indeed, that our redemption draws nigh.
We have already lived to hear the name of Canterbury's blessed martyr
pronounced with accents of veneration ; a hundred pens, most ably
wielded, are writing in defence of ancient piety and practice ; a thousand
voices are raised against the abominations of modern innovation. Eng-
land is, indeed, awakening to a sense of her ancient dignity ; she begins
to appreciate the just merits of the past, and to work eagerly for the
future. The last few years must, or ought to, have worked a great
change in the feelings of English Catholics towards the Anglican church-
men ; and it is evident that, if it be God's will that departed glories are
to be restored, it will be effected rather by rebuilding the ruined walls
of Zion than by demolishing the poor remains that are left The tide of
popular innovation that so lately threatened us with common destruction
seems providentially stayed. God forbid we should endeavour to obtain
a transept in a scramble with dissenters, but rather prove ourselves to
possess the feelings of the true mother in Solomon's judgment, and freely
give up all, than see what we hold so dear divided ; and by perfecting
ourselves, and carrying out true Catholic principles in charity, devotion,
and zeal, hasten forward that union to which, in the words of an eccle-
siastical periodical, we may even begin to look forward, and which is
rather to be obtained through the sacrifice of the altar and midnight
supplication, than by the clamours of an election platform or the tumult
of popular commotion.
KEVIVED CHURCH ORNAMENTS FIGURED IN PLATE X.
In the centre, a lectern of carved oak, surmounted by a cross fleury, with a double desk
turning on the shaft. A Psalter and book of the Holy Gospels, bound with clasps, and
bosses of gilt metal, enamelled and engraved, are shown lying on it.
Immediately over the lectern is a corona or circlet for lights, and on either side an altar
On the altar are various examples of altar candlesticks, and a small tower tabernacle for the
reservation of the blessed Eucharist.
The frontal represents the four Evangelists and other sacred emblems embroidered in
needle-work and gold. On the step, two high standing candlesticks for consecration
Curtains suspended to rods are shown on each side of the altar ; and, immediately behind
the candlesticks and tabernacle, a small reredos of gilt or embroidered work, over which
is a ferettum or portable shrine.
On the right side of the altar
A processional cross.
A pastoral staff.
A faldistorium, with a precious mitre lying on it.
A standing altar cross.
On the left side of the altar
A processional cross and a standing altar cross.
A pastoral staff.
A verge or cantor's staff.
A pax and an Agnus Dei case.
On the pavement
Two thuribles, with a ship for incense, two holy water vats, a-processional candlestick,
a chrismatory, enamelled, and a sacrying bell.
These ornaments, and many others, have been most faithfully revived from ancient
authorities by the care of a devout and skilful goldsmith of Birmingham, and are produced
by the ancient methods of working metals.
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